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Assessing Your Green Recruiting Plan

One of the core purposes of Human Resources is to facilitate the hiring of the best people who can further an organization’s vision and mission.

Having a strategic plan -- a Recruiting Plan -- is essential for success in hiring. It serves as an outward-facing roadmap for how you establish and maintain awareness of the organization and then draw top-notch candidates to apply for open positions.

But it’s also more than that -- Recruiting Plans are both focused on getting people to apply for current positions AND about fostering a positive marketplace presence so prospective applicants seek out your organization when they’re ready to change jobs in the future.

Here are the steps you can take to develop or refine your organization’s Recruiting Plan, using the metaphor ROSES.

R - Research, Review, Reassess

  1. Review your organization’s current Strategic Plan. What is your organization anticipating in terms of new roles in the next 3-5 years? What current and new skills and competencies are you looking to bring onboard?

  2. Current and Emerging Trends. What are the current trends in industry? What current customer needs is your organization responding to, or preparing to respond to in the future?

  3. Sustainability.  Look at the sustainability goals of your organization and the skills and competencies that are needed, now and in the future.  In addition to technical skillsets, how can you include the kinds of relational and innovation-based skills that foster sustainable behaviors, as part of job designs/redesigns?

  4. Attrition. Review your attrition rates, for retirements and voluntary departures. What implications does this data have for hiring in the short- (1-3 years) and longer-term (3-5 years)?

  5. Current vs. Desired Applicants. Where are you strong in terms of attracting a robust, qualified pool of candidates? What gaps are there?

  6. Compensation and Benefits. How well does your organization stack up in terms of comp and benefits among your competitors?

  7. Hiring Process. Are you clear to candidates about what the process looks like and what happens when? Where can you be more effective?

  8. Onboarding Process. This is the last component of recruiting and it’s often overlooked as part of hiring. Research shows that effective onboarding has a direct relationship with retaining good employees. What insights can you glean from onboarding and how it could be improved?

O - Objectives

  1. Establish Overall Hiring Goals and Specific Goals.  Knowing what you know now, from having completed your Research, establish two kinds of goals, Overall Hiring Goals and Position-Specific Goals.

  2. Revisit Existing Goals or Objectives. Of course, if you are using an existing Recruiting Plan, go back to your current goals.  What should be carried forward and updated?

  3. Communications Goals. Discuss your Recruiting Plan with your Communications team. What way can you build in organizational goals? While the Recruiting Plan is a separate plan, its core goals and messages should be consistent with the organization’s overall communications strategy and plan.

  4. Who Do You Want to Reach? Think strategically about the audiences you want to reach.  Remember also to look back at who you're reaching now.  How diverse is it and how could you do better?  What groups or communities can help in introducing your organization to prospective candidates?  Examples might include alumni organizations, professional associations, LinkedIn Groups, etc etc.  Remember to also consider the skills and competencies -- such as STEM skills -- and reach out to groups with a connection to those skill sets, such as universities with degree programs in those subject areas.

S - Strategies

  1. Positioning and Messaging. Position both the organization and the positions that are part of your Recruiting Plan.  Build a set of core messages about the organization that also correspond to why working with your team is enjoyable/exciting for a prospective candidate.

  2. Remember Sustainability Messaging. For sustainability-focused organizations, it’s especially important to “walk the talk” when it comes to sustainability practices, as data show it influences the hiring process. I like to ask clients, How are you communicating your commitment to sustainability as part of attracting new job candidates, both present and future?

  3. Outreach/Engagement Strategies. Select these strategies with an eye toward reaching the candidates you’d like to have apply for current and future roles. Use these strategies to deliver your core messages. Examples include, but are not limited to Advertising, Job Fairs, Social Media Campaigns, Community Service Projects, Collateral Materials (brochures, etc.), Industry Panels, Alumni Programs, Media Relations, and many more.

  4. Sources. Look at where prior candidates said they heard about you. Use this information to guide where you invest your time and effort.

  5. Budget. Consider what resources are needed to support your plan and include that request as part of annual budgeting.

  6. Assign HR Team Members and Non-HR Staff/Leadership. Assign leads to implement the plan and also engage non-HR staff when it makes sense. For example, hearing about the great opportunities at your organization from a staff member at an alumni event can be more powerful than when the same message is delivered by an HR professional.

  7. Calendaring.  Build a schedule of events, internal and external, that you'll attend to connect with potential applicants.  Remember that lateral moves/internal hires are also a valuable way to fill job openings, as well as external hires.

E - Evaluation

  1. Begin with the End in Mind. What does success look like for hiring? This is where metrics like “Source of Hire,” and “Applicants Per Opening” are valuable to consider, anchored to your goals/objectives (listed above).

  2. Measure Along the Way. You won’t know how effective your recruiting is without tracking metrics along the way. This also allows you to readjust and get back on track when need be. For example, are you getting applicants from job fairs, when considering participation over the last 3-5 years? Which events are generating leads and which ones are not and should be re-evaluated for future participation?

  3. Ask Candidates Too.  Remember that you can learn a lot from candidates you've hired and those who you did not.  Reach out to them for input on the process.  How effective was the process?  How could it be improved?  Did your messaging come through, including on important sustainability messaging?  What suggestions might they have for other groups to reach?  Build this information into future plans.  And even consider creating an Advisory Group that can review and give input on your plan, or event serve as organizational ambassadors in support of your Recruiting Plan.

S - Start Again

  1. It’s Iterative. Scheduling time -- at least annually, if not quarterly -- to review and reassess the plan you have in place is beneficial. Your Recruiting Plan can only remain effective if it addresses both the current and emerging needs of the business.

Can we help with building and sustaining the talent pipeline in your organization? Reach out to Beth Offenbacker, Ph.D., at or via phone or text at 703-623-4811 to discuss if our Executive/Leadership Coaching or Talent Management services are right for you. We work with professionals and organizations that have a sustainability focus in their work. All services are customized to your needs.

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